By Jennifer M. Segura
If you live in San Diego, you have surely seen the van that is parked around town that says something to the tune of “Fast Cheap Divorce.” Perhaps it is not around anymore, but for YEARS I saw it all over the place. Living in North County, I don’t see it, it was usually parked close to the 5 freeway, in Old Town or Mission Valley. Well, let me tell you a bit about that van. WAAAAAYYYYY too long ago, I was looking for a job where I could clerk and learn some practical skills while finishing my third year of law school. I saw an ad somewhere, probably Craigslist, as it was all the rage back then, and went on an interview.
Upon arriving at an extremely seedy old building on Rosecrans, it was apparent pretty quickly that this was NOT where I would learn anything about the RIGHT way to do anything practical! I sat and spoke with a young woman, only to learn there was no lawyer involved in the organization at all, it was owned by some guy that lived in LA that had zero background in the law. The people working there were young, definitely not lawyers, paralegals, or students. Just young kids looking to make some extra cash. The woman was thrilled to hear I actually was in law school and actually had a connection to what they were doing. She asked if I had sample documents they could use, etc., to which I quickly excused myself, as politely as possible, and got as far away as I could.
This is what is so unfortunate. The public at large does not know the questions to ask to determine if the place they are getting this “fast cheap divorce online” is reputable and whether there is anyone who is working on their case that knows anything about what they are doing. It is only worse when you move these services online.
At least with the place I described above, if anyone were to walk through the doors, it was fairly apparent this may not be the best place to handle your case, especially if there is any complexity at all (ie, children or a home).
This was back in 2003 before everything became so available online. It is oh so easy to google, “Cheap Online Divorce” and find many options to choose from. As long as they can afford a decent website, it can be very tempting to sign up.
Now, don’t get me wrong, if you have been married for a couple of years, no children, no property, no issue of support, you are 23 years old and have literally acquired NOTHING during the marriage except for student loans, then this may be a reasonable option for you. However, if children are involved, if there are retirement earnings, if there is a home (whether purchased before or after the marriage), vehicles, debt, etc., it can be very risky to trust your future with any cheap and fast resolution. If you have a friend who was in a similar situation as you and her divorce ran them $100,000 with lawyers and you feel like you scored because you found a place that will handle your entire divorce for $299, trust the gut instinct that it may, in fact, be too good to be true. Now, that does not mean you have to go spend $100,000 either! There are FAR better options than that.
One of those options is private mediation. If you go to a mediation firm where the mediators have a legal and/or financial background, have a good reputation in the community and have been around long enough to know they are the real deal, mediation can be a great alternative to the crazy high costs of attorneys or the crazy low costs of unpredictability.
At San Diego Family Mediation Center, our mediators are extremely passionate about what we do. We take our responsibility to guide you through this journey in a responsible manner, while still continuing to be a person and allow you to have feelings, questions, fears, and hope.
We are here to listen, to get to know you and your spouse, and to create a relationship that can withstand the test of time. It is rare that a client returns to their divorce attorney for help in the future after the divorce is over. Typically, the relationship between client and attorney has been so worn thin throughout the process, neither of them like each other. Alternatively, in mediation, we often have our couples utilize us for all of their post-divorce needs, as well as pre-marital needs in the future and even on occasion, through another divorce. Yes, we have repeat clients. SDFMC has been around San Diego for over 12 years. I still have clients return to use my services from the very beginning. I continue to receive referrals from those I guided through the process over 11 years ago.
The fact that they think of me and that I had enough of an impact on them, they will continue to refer me to their friends and family over a decade after I helped them, brings tears to my eyes. The trust they have placed in me will always be well respected and honored. If you find yourself seeking guidance in any relationship, pre-marital, post-marital, or anything in between, give us a call. We would love a chance to earn your trust as well.
Are you ready to get started? Contact San Diego Family Mediation Center today at (858) 736-2411 today.